Last week, Chris Brookes announced that he had signed with DDT Pro Wrestling, and subsequently will spend the next year based in Japan.
Though it is great to see him chase his dreams and take an opportunity to better himself as a wrestler, he will be missed in the Brtish wrestling scene, as he has been a staple of Britwres during its boom period.
As Brookes’ final shows in the UK approach, I look back at his contribution to Britwres, and the impact he has had on the scene.
At 6’4″ and a billed 187lbs, Chris Brookes might not fit your image of a ‘typical’ wrestler. His slight build differs hugely from those of the wrestlers so many of us grew up with. But don’t let that fool you: his wrestling style works perfectly with his build, with his lightning-fast speed, and submission mastery. I’m in no doubt that the Calamari Catch King has influenced and inspired a whole wave of wrestlers, and helped reinforce the sentiment that wrestling doesn’t exist solely for those with huge muscle mass, and powerful movesets.
Brookes’ versatility as a wrestler also has to be one of the main things that has helped him leave such a mark on the British wrestling scene. Whether it’s singles or tag wrestling, a serious or comedic match, or even intergender wrestling, or wrestling another man, Brookes can do it, and he can do it well. From his time at Fight Club Pro that helped him get on so many peoples’ radars, to wrestling on big platforms such as Defiant, wXw, and Progress to name a few, Brookes has showcased his range in terms of wrestling and character work.
Not only does the Squid shine in the ring, but he helps make others look like stars too. He never overshadowed his CCK partners, instead helping elevate them. Kid Lykos springs to mind as an example of this. Whereas at first glance they may not have looked like they belonged together, Lykos and Brookes were a well-oiled machine inside the ring, with great double team moves. Jonathan Gresham is another example of this, purely for their unparalleled chemistry.
But, for me personally, it is through his singles work where Brookes has really come into his own, more than holding his own against some of the biggest names in the indy scene. One example that quickly comes to mind, is the four-way elimination match at Defiant, against David Starr, Travis Banks, and Speedball Mike Bailey. Despite being eliminated first, he still had a decent amount of offence and was able to showcase his slightly wry, and tongue-in-cheek style. This was actually my first time seeing Brookes wrestle live, and he really made an impression on me. I knew he would be one to watch.
Where Chris Brookes has really stood out and left his mark, is through his creativity, and uniqueness. His merch designs alone are enough to draw in the most casual of fans. He also stands out in the way he markets himself and his merch, selling t-shirts in super limited pre-order runs – miss the pre-order, and you miss out. Even the seemingly smaller details such as these have added to Brookes’ mystique, and the buzz surrounding him. On the subject of marketing, how many other wrestlers have gone on to create their own promotions, as he has done with Schadengraps? Again, this is just another element of what will make Brookes stick in the memories of wrestling fans.
His creative mind also shines in his wrestling, and how he has made all the moves he has adopted, his own, in particular, his signature Octopus Stretch. What I am particularly impressed by is how easy Chris Brookes makes everything look, especially when it comes to his submissions.
I’ve never seen any other wrestler be able to turn almost anything into a submission in the way he can. I’d struggle to name anyone as prominent in the indy scene who is as slick, and who moves as fluidly in the ring as the Squid he portrays. It’s particularly exciting to see how he will continue to improve on this in his time in Japan, as well as what else he will add to his arsenal.
I would like to wish Chris Brookes all the best in this new chapter of his career, and I look forward to seeing him continue to grow as a wrestler.
You can find me on Twitter @KirstyPi.